"I did ask something of Miss Havisham, however, sir. I asked her to
give me some information relative to her adopted daughter, and she
gave me all she possessed."
"Did she?" said Mr. Jaggers, bending forward to look at his boots
and then straightening himself. "Hah! I don't think I should have
done so, if I had been Miss Havisham. But she ought to know her own
"I know more of the history of Miss Havisham's adopted child, than
Miss Havisham herself does, sir. I know her mother."
Mr. Jaggers looked at me inquiringly, and repeated "Mother?"
"I have seen her mother within these three days."
"Yes?" said Mr. Jaggers.
"And so have you, sir. And you have seen her still more recently."
"Yes?" said Mr. Jaggers.
"Perhaps I know more of Estella's history than even you do," said
I. "I know her father too."
A certain stop that Mr. Jaggers came to in his manner - he was too
self-possessed to change his manner, but he could not help its
being brought to an indefinably attentive stop - assured me that he
did not know who her father was. This I had strongly suspected from
Provis's account (as Herbert had repeated it) of his having kept
himself dark; which I pieced on to the fact that he himself was not
Mr. Jaggers's client until some four years later, and when he could
have no reason for claiming his identity. But, I could not be sure
of this unconsciousness on Mr. Jaggers's part before, though I was
quite sure of it now.
"So! You know the young lady's father, Pip?" said Mr. Jaggers.
"Yes," I replied, "and his name is Provis - from New South Wales."
Even Mr. Jaggers started when I said those words. It was the
slightest start that could escape a man, the most carefully
repressed and the soonest checked, but he did start, though he made
it a part of the action of taking out his pocket-handkerchief. How
Wemmick received the announcement I am unable to say, for I was
afraid to look at him just then, lest Mr. Jaggers's sharpness should
detect that there had been some communication unknown to him
"And on what evidence, Pip," asked Mr. Jaggers, very coolly, as he
paused with his handkerchief half way to his nose, "does Provis
make this claim?"
"He does not make it," said I, "and has never made it, and has no
knowledge or belief that his daughter is in existence."
For once, the powerful pocket-handkerchief failed. My reply was so
unexpected that Mr. Jaggers put the handkerchief back into his
pocket without completing the usual performance, folded his arms,
and looked with stern attention at me, though with an immovable
Then I told him all I knew, and how I knew it; with the one
reservation that I left him to infer that I knew from Miss Havisham
what I in fact knew from Wemmick. I was very careful indeed as to
that. Nor, did I look towards Wemmick until I had finished all I
had to tell, and had been for some time silently meeting Mr.
Jaggers's look. When I did at last turn my eyes in Wemmick's
direction, I found that he had unposted his pen, and was intent
upon the table before him.
"Hah!" said Mr. Jaggers at last, as he moved towards the papers on
the table, " - What item was it you were at, Wemmick, when Mr. Pip
But I could not submit to be thrown off in that way, and I made a
passionate, almost an indignant, appeal to him to be more frank and
manly with me. I reminded him of the false hopes into which I had
lapsed, the length of time they had lasted, and the discovery I had
made: and I hinted at the danger that weighed upon my spirits. I
represented myself as being surely worthy of some little confidence
from him, in return for the confidence I had just now imparted. I
said that I did not blame him, or suspect him, or mistrust him, but
I wanted assurance of the truth from him. And if he asked me why I
wanted it and why I thought I had any right to it, I would tell
him, little as he cared for such poor dreams, that I had loved
Estella dearly and long, and that, although I had lost her and must
live a bereaved life, whatever concerned her was still nearer and
dearer to me than anything else in the world.